Monday, 19 June 2017

The Beginner's Guide to the Best Places to Drink in Krakow

With the tourist season in full swing in Krakow, many visitors swarm around the main square and base their experience of the city on the selection of bars and restaurants surrounding it. Of course, these places offer great atmosphere, views and the opportunity to take in the street life of the city centre. However, there is so much more to the city than this obvious, expensive, surface gloss that absolutely must be sought out if you really want to experience what Krakow is all about. Click the link below for the beginners guide to a night out in Krakow.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Kraków Street Art

The most commonly viewed "street art" in Kraków are often splurges of graffiti relating to loyalties to the two local football teams - Wisła or Cracovia. Most of this is not worthy of any artistic merit. However, there are some truly praiseworthy examples of true street art peppered around the city streets that really are worth nebbing into. Below are some examples of the more noteworthy exhibits along with some more macabre, thought provoking displays inspired by the dark recesses of Kraków's past.
 Mural on wall in Skwer Judah Food Truck Square, Kazimierz
This mural is entitled 'Judah'. It was created by by Pil Peled who is apparently one of Israel's most famous street artists. It emerged in July 2013 as part of the annual Jewish Culture Festival. The image of the child represents fear, vulnerability and the inner child. The lion represents the Jews' struggle to survive and preserve their culture, as well as strength.

The images above are found on ul. Jozefa, Kazimierz outside Pub Wręga. They depict historical figures of significance for the Kazimierz district such as Helena Rubenstein (a former resident of the district), King Kazimierz (after whom the district is named). Plaques next to the figures give info on their significance.
This image is of Gene Kelly singing in the rain. Of course, he is "Happy Again" as he now resides in the wonderful Kazimierz district.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Food Truck Frolics

How about trying eating something completely different when visiting Krakow? Like many places across Europe, the city has a blossoming food truck culture where aspiring chefs are pedalling their innovative cuisine. There are an increasing number of venues in which to experience this culinary phenomenon in fun, bohemian, decorative surroundings bringing colour to urban gap sites.

Judah Food Truck Square - otherwise known as Skwer Judah

This is a really cool place to sample grub from the varying tenants. Named after the huge gable end mural (see Kazimierz page for more info on this), try out Belgian fries, chimney cake, gourmet burgers, baked potatoes, extensive menus involving pulled pork and much more. The "Maczanka" from "Andrus Food Truck" in particular is grabbing the attention of the culinary experts. Relax sitting on the assortment of bottle crates, beach chairs and palettes. Run out of cash? Don't worry, there is even a handy bankomat.
św. Wawrzyńca 16

Izaak Square

Another food truck square is found nestling in the alleyway linking Szeroka to Kupa called Izaak Square. Beach chairs, crate seating and a variety of trucks offering anything from skewers, tofu treats, Mexican wraps, coffee, curled ice cream and beer. This place has a cool vibe and is very handy for the Kazimierz revellers. On hot sunny days, relax in the hammocks or deck chairs.

Izaak Square

Bezogródek Food Truck Park

If you fancy your food truck grub in a more green, garden like setting, look no further than Bezogródek food truck park. Located daily in a park off ul. Piastowska 20, this place epitomises the whole truck revolution for foodies. There is a big variety on offer here with the usual burger, wraps, fries type offerings as well as Mexican, chicken wings, ice cream and coffee. The usual scattering of deck chairs and crates are offered for seating. Eat well whilst lounging amongst the greenery.
Piastowska 20

Kiełbaski z Niebieskiej Nyski

Finally, we could not discuss food trucks without mentioning Krakow's original and ever popular, food truck. Located at Hala Targowa (Grzegórzecka Street), near the market and the railway bridge, this place serves the best barbecued sausages from a nyska van straight from Poland in the old iron curtain days. Two blokes in white smocks expertly sizzle their sausages (kiełbasa) over a wood fired barbecue. This place is legendary and most deffo is the best sausage in town.
Hala Targowa
Grzegórzecka Street

Friday, 3 March 2017

Tytano - the Coolest Place in Krakow?

For visitors to Krakow wishing to veer away from the tourist trap of the Old Town, a visit to Tytano is a great option. This place is a real wonder! Often labelled as a "city within a city", it is situated in an abandoned cigarette factory and its outbuildings. consists of an eclectic mixture of cafes, pubs, restaurants, beer halls and an entire factory floor filled with designer exhibits, art, and furniture from local creators. 
Hidden top quality enterprises Tytano style

The overall feeling is that of one ginormous "squatting" venture since the cafes, bars etc are quite literally located in empty, abandoned buildings with boarded up windows, crumbling brickwork and graffiti. However, this most definitely has to be one of the hippest, coolest places to hang out in the city. It is to be particularly recommended on warm summer afternoons and evenings when the seating spills out into the alleyways and courtyards surrounding the buildings.
The history of Tytano goes back to 1876 and the Austro-Hungarian occupation when it operated as a cigarette factory named ‘Kaiserliche Koenigliche Tabakfabrik’. It operated for 125 years, ultimately taken over by Philip Morris, but abandoned in 2002.
Boarded up - yet thriving

Outside seating Tytano style

Following this it was taken over by Immobiliaria - a Spanish company who had ambitions to turn it into a giant luxury hotel. Luckily this never came to fruition. This company still owns the buildings but is now renting space out to the current collection of enterprises. The contract runs until 2020, but apparently they are queuing up to rent space and there is even talk of a climbing wall and cinema moving in.

At present you will find a fine selection of unexpected pleasures residing in pleasingly shabby, yet classy, innovative urbanite spaces. Choose from wine dens, beer halls, interactive fear escape activity, top notch restaurants and cafes, cutting edge designers displays taking up entire factory floors, fashion design exhibitions and soooooo much more. This place is so cool and is what the real creative heart of Krakow is all about. Don't miss it!
Be inspired at Tytano!
Ripped up pages from books decorate the factory walls
Innovative wall decor
Superb cafe space

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Easter Weekend in Krakow

Easter in Krakow in a lot of ways is a more important festival than Christmas. Travellers need to be aware though that from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, locals will not be knocking about in the bars and restaurants, and things take on a more subdued air. Don’t bother with any travel plans, especially Easter Sunday as only the most basic of timetables will be operating – if at all. Also, be aware that the opening times of attractions, bars and restaurants may also all be affected.
Oscypek smoked mountain cheese on sale in the Easter market
Kraków Easter Market
However, don’t be put off visiting the city as the superb Easter market on the main square certainly rivals the Christmas one, the weather may turn distinctly spring-like and warm, and the sensation of having emerged from the chill of winter just has to celebrated. If you are a sucker for decorating your house for Christmas, you will absolutely love trawling the stalls for Easter trinkets, bunnies, pussy willows and tulips to usher in the spirit of spring.
Easter Market goodies
In terms of the traditional meaning of the festival, it kicks off with Palm Sunday and you will witness the locals purchasing elaborate hand woven palms made from dried flowers and plants. They are taken to church to be blessed then taken home to be put up as decorations.
Easter decorations
Good Friday involves a visit to a church and fasting which involves only two meals and absolutely no meat.